Despite budget uncertainty, SIU temporarily covers student MAP grants

As students prepare to move into school, many aren’t sure if they can afford to pay tuition without a MAP grant.

With the Illinois legislature at a budget impasse, 125,000 students statewide are facing uncertainty as to whether they will receive MAP grant funding.

"Tuition is so high, and me and my family can’t afford it, so it definitely helps," said Brittney McDaniel.

SIU spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith says more than a third of students receive assistance from state MAP grants.

"We anticipate having 4,800 MAP grants, and that’s a pretty big number of students. And MAP grants are based on financial need, so they’re important for students," said Goldsmith.

The Illinois legislature is at a budget impasse, and SIU credited $14 million to 4,800 student accounts hoping the state money will be there eventually.

"It’s a need they have to get started in school," said Goldsmith.

The problem is: If the state of Illinois comes up short, it creates a worst case scenario for students.

"In a worst case scenario that there is no funding, then we would have to go back to students and seek the funds," said Goldsmith.

"It’s scary because I wasn’t planning on taking out a loan, and I definitely can’t afford it," said McDaniel.

With the school unable to bridge the financial gap long term, students like McDaniel are forced to weigh the cost of a degree and the possibility of having to get a loan.

MAP grants come from Illinois’ general fund, and are for in-state students from low income families.

Students will be covered through the fall semester. If MAP funding isn’t there this spring, Goldsmith tells WPSD that students may be forced to seek outside financial aid or drop classes.

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